Magnetic Man
Magnetic Man


2.0
poor

Review

by Deviant STAFF
December 5th, 2010 | 44 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Popstep - pure, unadulterated nonsense that bares no resemblance to its makers prestigious backgrounds

Its been an interesting observance watching some of the high end and most well renowned music sources fawning over the concept of Benga, Skream and Artwork joining forces like some unmitigated force deemed worthy of the biggest hype train possible. Admittedly, it wasn't the most implausible conclusion that one could come to, all of these fine upstanding gents have, at one time or the other, delivered the sonic goods. Benga is still one of the silent champions of the scene, preferring to step aside and let his music do all of the talking, which has produced significant results; and Artwork dropped a great EP in the form of Red...... all the way back in 2002. And then of course there's Skream, the young boy who, despite having a very checkered and versatile yet uneven discog, still commands audiences intent on hanging on until he does drop another, inevitable, banger. I mean, its not rocket science to assume that bringing these boys together and locking them in a room until the ball gets rolling should have resulted in a solid record – not necessarily dropping the definitive album that these “music sources” have been looking for ever since Burial decided to enter semi retirement, but a full well rounded album deemed significant enough to have warranted the formation of this “super group of dubsteppers” in the first place.

I was admittedly a little suspicious when this trio announced they had combined forces like some ragtag ensemble of wannabe messiahs intent on bringing dubstep out from its gutter level clinging into the bright shining lights of, I don't know – let's say Top Of The Pops. They certainly aren't the first bunch of like minded musicians to attempt to pin a face to the scene, Skream's already been there and tried that out for himself, and we all remember the result of that little escapade don't we? It just seemed a little pretentious, despite the fact that not a single word had been uttered regarding their “true” intentions. In fact, they pretty much kept to themselves, silently releasing The Cyberman EP to small acclaim. And it was upon that release that I started to get just a little excited at the possibilities on offer. Yes it wasn't the second coming and yes, it was a little rough around the edges but it was ripe with fully realized talent and solid, well formed ideas. So seriously, guys: what the fuck happened to all that promise?

Now I want to be kind here given the combined legacy of the group but there is nothing on offer here that is in anyway remarkable, or at the very least, a continuation of their earlier frivolities, even if it was done to a lesser effect. There's something of a huge weight on the shoulders of these lads and sadly, they've faltered as a result of the pressure. What they've haphazardly tacked together here are 14 insipid tracks served cold and lifeless. The album is split between two distinct styles – the first, fringe pop doused in a thin yet fine layer of rave tinged dubstep, and the other a loose collection of instrumental numbers which could be best described as a step by step guide on how to “dub your step for beginners”.See, make no mistake here, Magnetic Man are a shiny pop act with eyes set on Ibiza beaches rather than the dirty streets of Croydon. And for evidence of this accusation you only need to hear the album's first single 'I Need Air', an alarmingly terrible number featuring current scene sweetheart Angela Hunte. The vocals themselves are grating enough (which isn't really a huge surprise) but the banality of the onset of a trance vibe is more than a little startling, and in all honesty, incredibly scary. Its not even remotely endearing to see these boys reaching for the stars (especially if they had actually done a good job), its borderline detestable.

Further along on the guest inclusions, Ms. Dynamite tries her hardest to breathe life into 'Fire', but produces nothing more than a very mundane nature to the tepid stomper; John Legend goes full croon on the album's worrisome but hopefully reflective album closer, and Sam Frank becomes the poster boy for autotune on the slightly hard hitting 'Boiling Water'. When the group aren't attempting to cater to guest vocalists (and really, you'd think they'd be having a hard enough time attempting to cater to each others unique styles) they rise a little above the mundane and attempt to make small sparks of inspiration. 'Karma Crazy' shows that the team haven't entirely forgotten their roots, even though the track holds nothing particularly memorable or original; ditto both 'Mad' and Anthemic', with the latter the prime reason why a hundred internet bloggers have joined together and pooled their collective resources into coming up with the delightful “trancestep” tag, its essentially the musical equivalent of a Tiesto heart attack happening in zero gravity. So it would seem that my earlier comment of hope for the instrumental selection was something of a lie, which is sort of a half truth at the end of the day – when they're placating to the likes of Katy B they're pushing their potential to the background, thus almost relegating the concept of 3 distinctly different members working together essentially redundant; when they go it alone they almost manage to brandish some form of artistic merit, so to speak.

If this album only leaves me with one thing it will be the question of whether or not dubstep – dingy, behind closed doors, working late at night in bedrooms, hunched over computers – should ever be allowed to see the light of day, and the answer is no. I can't stop NME and The Guardian from referring every dubstep release back to Burial (day one as far as they are concerned) any more than I could will this album to be as good as I would've liked it to have been, but there's a difference between these sites/magazines seeking underground approval points and artists essentially “outing” themselves by working on unashamedly cash grab releases such as this. They say that everything gets drawn to a magnet, and that does seem to be the case here as they have taken a variety of ideas and styles and pieced them together like a kind of schizophrenic and mismatched jigsaw puzzle, but they also say that shit sticks to everything. Avoid.



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user ratings (35)
Chart.
3.1
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
December 5th 2010


31634 Comments


Anthemic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6C5_SHw7vb8
I Need Air: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWskQy5-b5Y&feature=related

Pretty fair representation of the two styles I mentioned

Digging: Theo Parrish - American Intelligence

Bitchfork
December 5th 2010


7584 Comments


I listened to this a month back and thankfully forgot about it. Hate you for bringing light on it.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
December 5th 2010


31634 Comments


Sorry boss

Tyrael
December 5th 2010


20978 Comments


Heh, nice review. Not gonna check this one out, still got a headache from that bad BEP album.
Pos'd btw.

Gyromania
December 5th 2010


16092 Comments


I've never heard of Magnetic Men.. Anyways, great review. Pos.

STOP SHOUTING!
December 5th 2010


639 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

is it really that bad? not really my thing, but the singles with ms dynamite and katy b i thought were ok.

Buccaneer
December 5th 2010


692 Comments


I quite liked Perfect Stranger, but I think I'll give this a miss

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
December 5th 2010


16965 Comments


Whoah back to back days of stellar Deviant reviews. Love that last sentence.

Digging: Low Roar - 0

SCREAM!
December 5th 2010


10396 Comments


Dev, you going for contributor now?

Digging: Svartidau?i - Flesh Cathedral

pizzamachine
December 5th 2010


12572 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Good review. I like their instrumental songs but hate the rest.

2muchket!
December 5th 2010


900 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

This is fucking dire.

AggravatedYeti
December 5th 2010


7685 Comments


will listen for hilarity's sake.

Bitchfork
December 5th 2010


7584 Comments


Boo. You whore.

bloc
December 5th 2010


35024 Comments


Slow the fuck down, champ!

But I see a negative review, my wish has been your command ;)

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
December 5th 2010


31634 Comments


I'm just writing reviews, that's all

Cheers guys

2muchket!
December 5th 2010


900 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

excellent review again tho dev

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
December 5th 2010


31634 Comments


Thanks dude, always appreciated


is it really that bad? not really my thing, but the singles with ms dynamite and katy b i thought were ok.


It depends on how you look at it really. I don't want to call myself, or sound like, an elitist but this album just rubs me the wrong way in terms of how "mainstream sounding" it is, like it just seems that they wanted to get radio attention


Dev, you going for contributor now?


I would have to apply for that, I don't think writing reviews is enough seeing as how everyone does that


But I see a negative review, my wish has been your command ;)


I did see your comment in the mau5 thread! Just been hella busy at work and life in general lately (if you noticed I haven't been around a great deal last week or so). Just working my way through the back log of reviews I wanted to write and pushed this one forward when I realised (half because of your comment) that I hadn't done a negative review in awhile

2muchket!
December 6th 2010


900 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I really want to punch Katy B too. Jessie Ware makes her look foolish.

WaltThizzney
December 10th 2010


24 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

for what it is its a decent and catchy album

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
December 11th 2010


31634 Comments


It is a decent & catchy pop album, but it's a poor dubstep album



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